2005, 2006, and 2007 Changes to the Chrysler - Dodge Minivan Family
Engine choices remained the same as in 2004 (except for export models), but they gained quite a bit of power. The 3.3 went to 180 horsepower with 210 lb-ft of torque, while the 3.8 went to 215 horsepower, with 245 lb-ft of torque.
Gas mileage also increased - 19/26 for the 3.3, 18/25 for the 3.8 (in 2008-equivalent numbers this is 17/24 and 16/23). This brought the Chrysler minivans back up to the top of the engine pile for a year or two. (In 2006, the 3.8 was dropped to 207 horsepower.)
Export versions got a new diesel engine, with an optional automatic. The new VM 2.8 CRD engine delivered 110 Kw (150 bhp) of power at 3,800 rpm and torque of 360 Nm (266 lb.-ft.) at a low 2,100 rpm. The new 2.8-liter engine used less than 9 liters per 100 km, meeting or beating competitors.
In 2009, J.D. Power rated the Dodge Grand Caravan as the most reliable minivan in America, giving it a higher reliability score than any other full or midsized van. The Grand Caravan was named Most Dependable Van, beating the Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna. This test covered three full years; it applied to the 2006-model-year minivans.
For 2007, a new SAE standardization that affected all automakers dropped the 3.3 down to 170 hp, and the 3.8L to 200 hp. Other manufacturers saw similar or more severe drops.
The Plymouth Voyager's final incarnation as the Chrysler Voyager was finally put to death.
Numerous changes were made to make the seats more flexible. This included rapid stowing of second and third row seats into the floor with one-handed operation (on long-wheelbase vans) that did not require headrests to be removed or cupholders to be folded in; storage bins with integrated lids in the back rows; cargo nets integrated into the storage bins; new cushions; fore-aft adjusters and reclining seat backs for second row seats; single-pull easy access to the rearmost seats; split-bench rearmost seats; and reclining third-row seats.
Safety was advanced with three-row side curtain airbags, driver-side knee-blocker airbag, multistage front airbags, automatic deactivation of the passenger side airbag depending on the occupant’s weight, LATCH system car seat anchors in both rear rows, an optional rear obstacle detection system, and signal lights to show when the sliding doors are being used.
Other options included a moveable / removable overhead rail system with storage bins, DVD screen, and rear temperature controls; UConnect; and navigation system.
For 2006, the second-row storage bin covers had a tri-fold access panel for easier access to the storage, and didn’t require moving the front driver or passenger seat forward.
The down-side of these and prior minis was the cost-cutting binge, which insiders told us was caused by a team of youngsters. Many complained about the loss of windshield-wiper de-icers and backlighting for the headlight switch panel and door switches.
Noise and vibration reduction
By combining computer simulations with testing in Chrysler'’s state-of-the-art Auburn Hills wind tunnel and on four-post shakers, engineers quieted their minivans by 16%. Some changes were:
- Robotically applied liquid spray dampeners to stop noise, applied to the floor, toe-pan, cowl, and roof panel.
- Expandable polyurethane foam injected into cavities.
- A revised underbody structure for high bending and torsional stiffness, isolating suspension vibration and chatter.
- A fluid-filled hydro engine mount reduced engine vibration into the front rails.
- Suspension control arms used tuned hydro bushings to reduce suspension vibration.
- Second-row foam seating technology was tuned to dampen vibration.
- More precisely sized folding seats and covers prevented squeaks and rattles.
- Wind noise was cut with triple door seals, molded gaskets, aerodynamically configured roof rack cross bows, and a spiraled antenna.
- Diesel models had new silencers.
Stow and Go details
Chrysler had people compare Stow ’n’ Go against every competitor in the market; it scored six times higher than seating systems in Honda Odyssey and Toyota Sienna.
- The Advanced Multistage Air Bag System increased protection for a greater range of occupants at various levels based on the severity of a crash
- Anti-lock brakes
- Seat belt reminder system
- Constant Force Retractors were engineered to force-limit the belt system and gradually release seat belt webbing in a controlled manner during a severe impact
- Enhanced Accident Response System turned on the interior lighting and unlocked the doors after air bag deployment
- Energy-Absorbing Steering Column used release capsules, which allowed the column to move forward for enhanced energy absorption during a crash. The column also featured tuned metal bend straps which deformed during column stroke for optimal energy management
- Two sensors, located forward in the vehicle, measured the severity of the impact and relayed crash information to safety control systems in the occupant compartment for optimal deployment of the driver and passenger air bags, driver inflatable knee blocker, and seat belt pretensioners
- Knee blocker inflated in conjunction with air bag deployment. This feature increased leg protection in an impact and helped to position the driver relative to the air bag
- Signal lights activated when power sliding doors were in operation as a warning to passing cars
- Occupant Classification System measured conditions for activation or deactivation of the passenger-side air bag, based upon the weight of the occupant
- During a collision, the front seat belt pretensioners electronically sensed a crash and immediately removed slack from the seat belts, reducing the forward movement of the occupant’s upper body
- Steering Column Intermediate Shaft Decoupler: A joint integrated into the steering system released during a severe impact event. Limited the amount of force applied to the chest during an impact
- Three-row, A to D pillar side curtain air bags provided full-length coverage for all three rows of seats. Both side curtain air bags had impact sensors which triggered the air bag on the side where impact occured
- Rear obstacle detection system with audible warning and rear overhead display
- A first aid kit could be purchased for the overhead rail system.
- Mopar also sold side mirrors with integrated turn signals.
2007 Dodge Grand Caravan minivan changes
Changes to Dodge Caravan or Chrysler Town & Country for 2007, their last year before redesigned models appeared, included changes to standard features and option packages. The driver-side inflatable knee blocker was standard on all models, a sliding Door Alert System was added, and:
- 3.3L flexible fuel V6 (E85 compatible); 45 States - Optional on Grand Caravan SE
( 180 hp @ 5,000 rpm, 210 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm on gasoline)
- UConnect® Hands-Free Communication System - Optional on all models
- New colors: Marine Blue Pearl and Modern Blue Pearl
Interior of 2005 Chrysler Town & Country
- Sycamore wood designed into the center stack bezel and complemented with satin silver accents
- Wood and satin silver appearance continued on the door bolsters and throughout entire cabin
- Chromed Chrysler badging with jeweled Chrysler seal integrated into steering wheel horn pad. Touring model featured satin silver appearance on the center stack bezel.
Exterior of 2005 Chrysler Town & Country
- Chrysler's winged badge extended the entire width of grille
- New sculpted dual headlamps and a new front fascia that included a carved, molded-in license plate pocket and precise circular fog lamps
- Chromed fascia inserts completed new premium front-end appearance
- Bright roof rack and new cladding with chromed inserts highlighted the side view
- New rear fascia includes chromed inserts with four integrated sensors for rear park assist
- Chromed Dodge badging integrated into steering wheel horn pad
- SE had new mechanical grained appearance on the center stack bezel
- SXT featured new carbon-weave design on the center stack bezel
- Distinct Dodge crosshair grille was instantly recognizable as Dodge
- New front fascia with a molded-in license plate pocket and new fog lamps
- New machined body-side moldings with chromed inserts highlight side view
Dodge Caravan, Grand Caravan, and Chrysler Town & Country were built in Windsor, Ontario; St. Louis, Missouri; and Graz, Austria.